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As a single parent one can very often experience exhaustion, seeing as there is never a shortage of challenges. While married, one typically can rely on our spouse to support and step in to reassure, in moments when one feels weak, or just plain overwhelmed. But when one is spouseless, sometimes one can feel helpless.
Simple things stack up, and can develop into an insurmountable hill. Mail on the counter needing my attention (I must be late on something), organizing papers for tax preparation, my tanking 401K, necessary house repairs, and the no brainers needing daily attention like laundry, dishwashing, preparing meals. Mind you this list I just shared with you is only 1/1000th of my running list.
What’s happening to my appliances? My dishwasher and washing machine have started whining for my attention, not to mention my 33+ yr old furnace that’s been moaning like an old retired ghost. And of course while I was in the shower today washing off my hair dye- and let me tell you, that is not the time to run out of the shower leaving trails of ash brown all over my flooring- my daughter alerts me that “the garage door is stuck part way and something fell off!” I must say, I am proud of her. She figured out an interim solution on her own, manually lifting the door and removing my car.
So what am I doing today? Am I working to knock off items on my endless perpetuating list? No, I’m at the coffee shop writing.
Writing is something I do because, like air, I cannot help myself. It is as fundamental a part of my existence. I have often in my life put it off because other people or things needed my immediate attention. No one needs my writing, so the choice to put it off is a no-brainer when you put it in terms of life priorities. But like air, I can hold my breath only for so long. I can stop writing only for so long. Then suddenly and inexplicably, out of nowhere, there must be some emergency overflow valve that’s tripped, and abundantly and insatiably, a gusher of thoughts come and I cannot contain them. I grab for paper, I grab for napkins, I grab for sticky notes, I grab for anything in my immediate reach to begin recording what’s streaming. Sometimes it’s genius, sometimes it’s gobblydegook. The good stuff I believe is Divinely inspired. The rest, well, that’s probably my fried brain talking.
Lately my daughter has begun telling me, “Mama! You’re a hot mess!”
I felt that way the other day as I arrived late to work. I was in the parking lot getting my stuff together out of the car. I grabbed for my laptop bag, water bottle, lunch bag, fumbling for my phone and ……
Oh Goodness! Where’d I place my keys?! I had them a minute ago! Trace my steps….
Okay, found it!
Geesh! I almost left without my coffee! Now how am I going to carry all this stuff?
Fumble, fumble some more…..drop a thing or two but managed to hang onto coffee cup! Yes!
Finally made it to the front door of the professional stuffy building. Okay, gotta put on my professional face. Gotta fool them that I have it all together, you know. Especially being a woman engineer. Don’t want to give us women a bad name. Here goes……
And we begin another day. Exhausted and I haven’t even started!
I typically avoid drama in my life and purposely avoid draining relationships of any kind. I don’t over-commit my time, neither does my child– she’s very laid back. Though she’s active and involved, I’m not off driving her to every event imaginable. Yet, even still, one cannot avoid “life” and it’s varying demands on our time.
You hear it said, “simplify.” Yes, I am working to simplify, and yet, you can only carve so much fat off an emaciated chicken.
A recent conversation at work, with a married mom, she explained similar feelings of not having enough time to do it all. She added, “Something’s gotta give.”
That’s it– Too much to do, only so much time in a day, in a week, in a year. It can’t all possibly get done at once. Try as you might to juggle it all, the reality is, some things may never get done. I am starting to realize that it’s okay not to get it all done. I have my married friends to thank. If they can’t get it all done, how on earth am I?